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Obama urges leaders to avoid divisive words

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Obama  urges leaders to avoid divisive wordsWashington: Condemning the Baton Rouge shooting as “cowardly” assault, President Barack Obama today called for national unity and asked Americans and political leaders to avoid inflammatory words and focus on “uniting the country rather than dividing it”.

“It is so important that everyone regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organisations you are a part of, everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further,” Obama said in an address to the nation from White House after three police officers were killed by a a former African-American Marine veteran in Baton Rouge in Louisiana.

Condemning the shooting, he said, “Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible.”

“We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement,” Obama said after describing the shooting of the police officers as “a cowardly and reprehensible assault” in an earlier statement.

The lone gunman, who was shot dead, also wounded three other police officials in the attack which shocked the entire nation on a weekend on the eve of the Republican convention in Cleveland.

It was the latest in a string of deadly incidents involving law enforcement, including the police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge and the killing of five officers in Dallas.

In a somber speech, Obama said five days ago he travelled to Dallas for the memorial service of the five officers who were slain there.

“I said that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other. Nor will today’s killer.

It remains up to us to make sure that they fail. That decision is all of ours. The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst — that’s up to us,” he said.

“We have our divisions, and they are not new. Around- the-clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, and I know we are about to enter a couple of weeks of conventions where our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual,” US President said.

In an apparent reference to the political mudslinging and effort to widen the racial divide, Obama said one do not need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.

“We need to temper our words and open our hearts — all of us. We need what we saw in Dallas this week, as a community came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding,” he said.

“We need the kind of efforts we saw this week in meetings between community leaders and police — some of which I participated in — where I saw people of good will pledge to work together to reduce violence throughout all of our communities. That’s what’s needed right now. And it is up to all of us to make sure we are part of the solution and not part of the problem,” the US President said.


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